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Author Topic: Watch Me Replace My Coleman ABS Roof  (Read 41413 times)
onecolumbyte
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« on: June 02, 2011, 08:02:05 PM »

I've got a 98 Coleman Sunridge with an ABS roof that has slowly been failing for about 3 years. As cracks opened in the roof the failure rate accelerated rapidly until, this spring,
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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 08:05:06 PM »

I've been reading alot around the web, and have been thinking about the design for awhile.
I will build the roof using plywood boat techniques. It will essentially be a plywood box (3/4") with 1/4 sheeting over the top. To prevent "checking" (splits in the plywood face) I will cover the exterior with 6 oz fiberglass cloth, and paint for UV protection.
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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 08:10:27 PM »

First problem, lumber. Upon finding a plywood supplier (www.hugheshardwoods.com/) near me (Rancho Cordova, CA). I traipsed down there to buy some plywood. STICKER SHOCK. 3/4" Marine Plywood cost me over $70 a sheet.
Also, they didn't have the 1/4" ply in stock (turns out they can easily order some). So I left with 1/4 birch plywood.
In a sudden fit of sanity I decided to "boil test" the birch ply before wasting my time with it. Good thing too,

Those 5 squares were one laminate bly prior to 30 mins of boiling. You do NOT want indoor rated plywood in your roof. So back to Hughes where they graciously accepted my return, minus the sheet I had cut to test the ply. There's a free lesson to the rest of you.
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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 08:16:43 PM »

In order to get the plywood to span the entire length of the trailer I had to "scarf" two pieces together.
To do this you make a long (8:1) taper in the end of each piece, then glue them together. The long taper makes an extended gluing surface, and the joint is quite strong.

So, after some time in the garage i had all the pieces of my box. long sides, curved ends, and bowed ribs for support along the span.

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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 08:21:53 PM »

Now to build them into a box. The corners will carry quite a bit of stress, so I tried to fancy up the joint a bit, I think this is called a half lap.


Plenty of epoxy for glue, a few pneumatic nails to hold it in place while it dries, and some corner reinforcement, and


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Tukee44
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 08:44:09 PM »

Please take many pictures and video as you can. We all need to know how it come out.

You don't really need trying to make it like the original shape. A square box will do as long as the water can drain.

Good luck. I wish I can lend a hand.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 08:46:23 PM by Tukee44 » Logged
tsc
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 12:39:31 AM »

Looking good so far.

Just one question; how much is the weight difference between the ABS roof and the new roof going to be? Will the lift system be able to take it? I know my roof has a lowered and raised weight rating (for bikes, A/C and such).
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96corolla
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 03:49:00 AM »

This is incredible!  If/when my ABS roof starts to look like that I'm going to puke and go in a corner and cry!  Kudos to you for having the time, dedication and talent to take on this project.  I'll be watching for sure!

PS - when I purchased by NTU pup last fall and was too dumb to find out about the ABS roof BEFORE I purchased it, the roof has huge patches on it that the PO told me was a fiberglass autobody patch or something...I'll take some pictures this weekend and post in case anyone finds them useful or interesting.
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clkellyusa
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 09:51:46 AM »

Great job so far!!!  Keep posting your progress.

Good luck!
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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2011, 10:29:37 AM »

Looking good so far.

Just one question; how much is the weight difference between the ABS roof and the new roof going to be? Will the lift system be able to take it? I know my roof has a lowered and raised weight rating (for bikes, A/C and such).

According to my research, the stock lift system is rated for 400 lbs IF it has an upgraded whiffle tree that the units installed with AC had. Mine does not have AC, so it's somewhat less than this.

The plywood replacement strucure comes in at about 180 lbs. Epoxy and Fiberglass covering should be under 50 lbs.

Based on the effort required to move it I'd guess the stock roof is close to 400 lbs. My fabricated roof is well under that.

Just avoid the temptation to overbuild. This roof is all plywood sheeting, no dimensional lumber. Stong and lightwieght. The cross support ribs occur at 4' o.c. Just rember, the roof only has to support itself, no one's going to walk on it.
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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 10:36:31 AM »

You don't really need trying to make it like the original shape.

This is very true. The compound curves have added significant time to the job.

Also, this roof is bigger (more than I intended) than the original. The side rails are about 3" taller, and the center height, at the top of the curve, is and additional 1 or 2" higher. We always had problems lowering the previous roof over the custom mattress (thicker), so I took this oppurtunity to solve that problem. It closes much better now. (I'm farther along than pictures show, but seem to have misplaced the camera. Updates soon.)
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blw2
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 10:40:57 AM »

.... the roof only has to support itself, no one's going to walk on it.

....Unless someone later wants to add AC, a bike rack, etc.

I'm looking forward to following your project.
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Tukee44
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 02:45:37 PM »

Make it tall enough so you can add a compartment for stuffs like the BAL.
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mfeeley
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 06:03:08 PM »

Looks really good so far...where are you located?  I'm in roseville, ca and if/when I need to redo my Utah, I might like to pick you brain and see the final product.  I thought you mentioned something about Rancho Cordova?

m
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onecolumbyte
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2011, 10:45:47 AM »

No Actual progress this weekend because of all the rain, but I found the camera so more build pictures.


Framed the perimeter and added support ribs where the plywood edges will be. 48" oc thru the middle and two @ 24" from the edge.
This photo also shows a terrible mistake I made. Those fancy corner joints I bragged about cost me 1.5" in overall width. The top ended up too narrow to fit on the trailer!! I cut the top apart and spliced in the missing width. I "rabbited" the edges and epoxyied it in. You can see it in this picture waiting to get the height trimmed.


Close up of the rib support. Downward load on the roof causes a rotation force where the rib is glued to the edge. It tends to rip the ply face veneer off, These blocks expand the glued surface and help transfer the load as more of a vertical force which the ply is stronger in supporting.


I routed an edge around the entire perimeter. It's 1/4" tall. The sheating will land here instead atop frame. This should help when I have to later round the edges for the fiberglass. That way I won't be rounding 1/4" ply, I'll be cutting on the 3/4" section. I'll tell you all later if this turns out to be an unneccessary construction detail.


Sheeted the roof in 1/4" ply. Epoxied everywhere. Thicken the epoxy with "fumed silica" or Carbo-Sil (tm from TAP) to make a peanut butter thick paste. Work it into all seams for a structural gap filling adhesive.
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